“Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by”
This morning I read a devotional taken from James 1:2-3 which declares: My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance;
This thought is echoed in 1 Peter 1:6-7: for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire.
If we are honest few of us would agree with James that we consider it joy to go through trials; or with Peter that we enjoy our faith being tested by fire. However, we must admit that testing is part of the human experience and try as we might cannot be avoided.
When we walk through the storm it is easy to forget the promises and presence of God. The storms often seem overwhelming; the problems insurmountable; the outcome despair and failure.
The prophet Elijah became so discouraged that he asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4). Rather than take his life God provided him with food, water, and rest to face the next challenge. Elijah’s work was not done. The current crisis would pass and Elijah would continue to do the work that God had called him to complete.
When the prophet arrived at his destination he was met with a physical storm of cataclysmic proportions; wind, earthquake and fire shook the place where he stood with a force so powerful even rocks were violently broken apart. But the Lord was not in the violence of the storm. It was when the storm passed by that the prophet heard the voice of God in the sound of sheer silence (1 Kings 19:12).
The wisdom and beauty of the contemplative life is that the contemplative waits in silence for the voice of God. The meditative life is one in which one is not intimidated by the sound and fury of the storm, but rather waits in silence for the voice of God. Sometimes the storm is so loud, so furious that God’s voice is drowned out by the cacophony of angry words and volatile tempers. In those explosive encounters the contemplative heart relies on the peace and presence of God regardless of the violence of the raging storm.
Those of quiet spirit and gentle heart understand the words of Isaiah: For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you (41:13).
Storms may be intense, frightening; they may challenge the very faith we profess. But they don’t last forever. When the storm passes by. . .be still and listen. . .God is speaking.